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Taillevent Merged topics


Holly Moore
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My parents brought me to all sorts of fancy restaurants before the age of 9 and as I understand it from my parents and grand parents, I was exceptionally well behaved (too bad this trend did not continue later on in life). I ate my soup with aplomb and then I would usually fall asleep in my chair or someone's lap. Wait, I still do that now.

That being said, I didn't have an appreciation or awareness for any sort of fine dining until I was in my early teens. Before I was 13 you could have just as easily brought me to the local pizza parlor and I would be just as happy as when they brought me to Lutece, Le Cirque or the Four Seasons. I just don't think children that young are even capable of it.

I think that may be generalizing, Jason. For one, I think robert's probably right; however you feel about your own appreciation of food as a child, it seems to have yielded a heck of a foodie outcome! For another, note that browniebaker's kids were actively calling to eat at Taillevent, which indicates that either a) it's a really meaningful experience for them or b) they don't want to be left out of something that sounds important. If (b), it's a different story, but if (a), it's a big deal. I know that the dinners I had at Lutece and the Quilted Giraffe (my parents's 70s/80s faves, respectively) from as young as 6 years of age were a big deal for me. I learned (by observing) how to order wine, how to banter with the sommelier, the pleasures of talking with the chef, and generally the wonders of a long, multi-course, carefully-composed meal, including some differences between "fun" food (the whimsical) and classic preparations. Part of the attraction was getting to be in an "adult" setting doing things with grownups, but a big part was the sheer luxury of the food and especially the service. (Spoiled me!) I've certainly known other children (my girlfriend's 6 and 12-year old cousins, for example) who distinguish between the kind of food at a luxury restaurant and the stuff they get at McDonald's.

In short, I'm with Pan here. Not having children myself, my impression might be that it might be a nice chance for you and your husband to get some alone time for a while and (to be honest) to save a little cash; two covers at Taillevent can translate to taking your children to Michel Richard a few times or Taberna del Alarbardero or Jaleo several times over! There's no question that the experience would be something they'd enjoy (assuming they're not overtired, jetlagged, or just in a bad mood; kids are people too), but maybe YOU want some time off.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
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My 9yo and 5yo are clamoring to have dinner at Taillevent with my husband and me when we spend spring break in Paris next April. Should I let them, or just get a babysitter for the evening? The kids enjoy and are used to having long, multi-course meals in quiet, formal restaurants, but none of us has been to Taillevent and we are not sure whether children would be out of place there, even at an early seating such as 7:30 p.m.

I'm ambivalent, on the one hand wanting a leisurely (and maybe even romantic?) dinner with just my husband and, on the other hand, not wanting my kids to miss out on a gustatory experience.

Please advise? Many thanks!

Ah, as must have been apparent, this discussion went on primarily among those in the US when it was late at night in the Western European time zone.

I have a question first off; why are a 5 and 9 year old "clamoring" to go to Taillevent? How do they know about it? Are they "clamoring" for the food, setting, elegance, reputation, what exactly?

I have recounted here numerous times my couple of months with my 3 year old grand-daughter whom I took everywhere in Paris without a problem ever. I don't think age is an issue; if they're "used to having long, multi-course meals in quiet, formal restaurants," OK.

Finally, would "children.....be out of place" especially at "7:30 p.m." If you mean would you be the only family there, probably, I cannot tell if that would make you uncomfortable. And I'm not certain Taillevent would be prepared to take orders and cook at 7:30, either.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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My instinct from reading your post is that the kids have gathered that this meal is going to be a very special one, and this is why they want to go. It's not the actual restaurant that has them clamoring, but the idea of missing out on this meal their parents are so excited about. Why not plan a special meal at a restaurant that might be more interesting to a 5 and 9 year old as a seperate outing, or a visit to a special chocolatier or ice cream parlor, carefully and clearly making it the point that this is very very special? Heck, you could hire a limo to take them there and be none the worse considering the cost of their meals at Taillevant.

Being on vacation in a foreign country, and with all the stress and fatigue that you don't really notice goes along with the wonderful discoveries, the risk that their fatigue could get the best of them a few courses into the meal is rather high, even if they are accustomed to dining out with you under normal circumstances. Who knows how they may react if in fact they discover that the experience at the restaurant is different from what they are imagining. If they end up dissapointed, bored, cranky, or sad halfway through the meal and you have to leave, that would be a shame.

I hope you have a great meal there, kids or not! :smile:

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My 9yo and 5yo are clamoring to have dinner at Taillevent with my husband and me when we spend spring break in Paris next April. Should I let them, or just get a babysitter for the evening? The kids enjoy and are used to having long, multi-course meals in quiet, formal restaurants, but none of us has been to Taillevent and we are not sure whether children would be out of place there, even at an early seating such as 7:30 p.m.

I'm ambivalent, on the one hand wanting a leisurely (and maybe even romantic?) dinner with just my husband and, on the other hand, not wanting my kids to miss out on a gustatory experience.

Please advise? Many thanks!

You know your kids. If you want them to be there and feel that they're not going to affect the enjoyment of the evening for you, your husband, and other patrons, then take them along.

My fiancee and I have a 2 month old daughter. She has already been to a few restaurants and cafes with us. The funny thing is that she'll sleep in the noisy places and get restless in the quieter ones! But this weekend, we're going to one of Melbourne's best restaurants, so we've got a baby sitter organised.

Personally, I reckon it's great that your kids are keen to go to a great restaurant. It makes a change from wanting to go to EuroDisney!

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Note also that Paris is full of restaurants that will be new and wonderful for the kids (so I'm told), where they can dress up and have a special, unique meal with their parents that they will long remember, but where the experience will last two hours rather four.

On general preicniples, I'm skeptical of even the best-behaved 5-year-old to stay at the top of their game for a long, long formal meal, but maybe my kids were just ADD. On a more selfish level, though, I don't have three or four hours worth of continuous conversation for a kid that young. I'd rather do a shorter nice meal with them and talk to a grownup for the long one.

On the other hand, if they get restless, you can just ask the sommelier to take them on a tour of the wine cellar and have them practice their French with the other guests. :biggrin:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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It's interesting to see how many questions this innocent situation raises: how tolerant should adults be of the presence of children at "adult" occasions; can young children properly appreciate "adult" gratifications, however costly and refined; are foodies formed by precocious fine dining; should parents claim some grown-up "date time" ; must we do as the French do (eat out sans children) when in Paris. It's kind of Rorschach for the egullet set, '05.

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I know that the dinners I had at Lutece and the Quilted Giraffe (my parents's 70s/80s faves, respectively) from as young as 6 years of age were a big deal for me. I learned (by observing) how to order wine, how to banter with the sommelier, the pleasures of talking with the chef, and generally the wonders of a long, multi-course, carefully-composed meal, including some differences between "fun" food (the whimsical) and classic preparations.

I am so, so, so jealous! Breathtakingly jealous!

For me at that age, and in that era, a "big deal" grownup, special dinner consisted of chicken chow mein at the restaurant inside the Best Western motel. And I'm so glad you weren't just along for the ride (as a lot of kids would have been, maybe even I!) --that you were able to appreciate what was going on. How cool!

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If you are willing to sacrifice and take the risk of having one of the grownups taking them outside the second they start to melt melt down, then take them. It is a great experience. The staff will treat them well if they are well behaved. And when I took my 7 year old to a three star I just had a hand held gameboy (with the sound turned off!) for her to play if she got bored. I think she played about 15 minutes of a 4 hour meal! And she did NOT have much restaurant experience. Trust me your kids will remember. I remember special meals from that age. In fact, it is about all I remember from that age. And it DID effect my future appreciation and love of cooking and food.

And if you cannot find a way to talk to your children for 4 hours during such a wonderful new experience then you have more serious problems than deciding were to dine.

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I will carry this image of your family in my mind and cherish it the next time I'm in a place where children are behaving like holy terrors.  It will be something to hold onto (along with my anger, hopefully), so that I can remind myself that somewhere, someone is doing it right.  :smile:

This says it all for me. It's early in life to learn the lesson, but we all suffer in many ways because of the behavior of others. Your children may be more mature than many teens but due to past horrors (as jgm mentions) I would probably ask to be moved to another table the minute you were seated next to me. I know, I know, it's not fair -- but I didn't get this way overnight. It has taken years of suffering ill-behaved parents (don't blame the kids, let's give credit where it's due) to make me this hostile to the situation. If I were dining at Taillevent (or comprable) and saw a 5- and 9-year-old coming, I would not wait around to see if they happened to be exemplary. I would request an immediate transfer to ensure the enjoyment of the meal. Sorry.

Hey, Jason, you're welcome. Now *I* am the bad 'guy'. :raz:

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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And if you cannot find a way to talk to your children for 4 hours during such a wonderful new experience then you have more serious problems than deciding were to dine.

I don't like kids 'til they're old enough to smoke.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I come late to this fascinating discussion. :rolleyes:

It's been discussed here before specifically in the French forum.

This says it all for me. It's early in life to learn the lesson, but we all suffer in many ways because of the behavior of others. Your children may be more mature than many teens but due to past horrors (as jgm mentions) I would probably ask to be moved to another table the minute you were seated next to me. I know, I know, it's not fair -- but I didn't get this way overnight. It has taken years of suffering ill-behaved parents (don't blame the kids, let's give credit where it's due) to make me this hostile to the situation. If I were dining at Taillevent (or comprable) and saw a 5- and 9-year-old coming, I would not wait around to see if they happened to be exemplary. I would request an immediate transfer to ensure the enjoyment of the meal. Sorry.

Are you French? If you are I would be surprised. This is not something a Parisian would do. Paris is also a very pedestrian city. People there walk and come into direct, physical contact all the time. Look at the way French stand in line, look at us on subways. The sensibility is different.

And if you are really worried about something that will happen in a restaurant in a city that you don't even live in and a culture you obviously don't understand you really need to go out for a walk. Sorry to be blunt. But I mean really.

I think it's a good thing for Browniebaker's family that you move to a table further away. Certainly it would make the meal more enjoyable for them since they would have to deal with your "bad vibes".

Even in a big city like Paris when a total stranger sees a lovely child they will sometimes come up and to praise the child and give hugs and kisses.

EDIT: I would not be surprised if there was a whole slew of posts, anectodal stuff about the one French person who didn't like kids. "My French friends tell me this..." :rolleyes:

Edited by chefzadi (log)

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

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Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

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Are you French? If you are I would be surprised. This is not something a Parisian would do. Paris is also a very pedestrian city. People there walk and come into direct, physical contact all the time. Look at the way French stand in line, look at us on subways. The sensibility is different.

And if you are really worried about something that will happen in a restaurant in a city  that you don't even live in and a culture you obviously don't understand you really need to go out for a walk. Sorry to be blunt. But I mean really.

I think it's a good thing for Browniebaker's family that you move to a table further away. Certainly it would make the meal more enjoyable for them since they would have to deal with your "bad vibes".

Even in a big city like Paris when a total stranger sees a lovely child they will sometimes come up and to praise the child and give hugs and kisses.

I am not French, I *do* get out and walk wherever I am, but walking is free and I can escape if I'm next to an ill-behaved child (or a child of ill-behaved parents, as I said). Yes, anyone with a 5- and 9-year-old would definitely be better off away from my bad vibes, so my moving to another table would be a win/win situation. I'm not going to tell you about my friends (French or otherwise) who agree with me, nor those who think I'm awful. I don't need back-up to reinforce my opinion, which is based on my own considerable (and, unfortunately, bad) experience.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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Are you French? If you are I would be surprised. This is not something a Parisian would do. Paris is also a very pedestrian city. People there walk and come into direct, physical contact all the time. Look at the way French stand in line, look at us on subways. The sensibility is different.

And if you are really worried about something that will happen in a restaurant in a city  that you don't even live in and a culture you obviously don't understand you really need to go out for a walk. Sorry to be blunt. But I mean really.

I think it's a good thing for Browniebaker's family that you move to a table further away. Certainly it would make the meal more enjoyable for them since they would have to deal with your "bad vibes".

Even in a big city like Paris when a total stranger sees a lovely child they will sometimes come up and to praise the child and give hugs and kisses.

I am not French, I *do* get out and walk wherever I am, but walking is free and I can escape if I'm next to an ill-behaved child (or a child of ill-behaved parents, as I said). Yes, anyone with a 5- and 9-year-old would definitely be better off away from my bad vibes, so my moving to another table would be a win/win situation. I'm not going to tell you about my friends (French or otherwise) who agree with me, nor those who think I'm awful. I don't need back-up to reinforce my opinion, which is based on my own considerable (and, unfortunately, bad) experience.

That's part of my whole point and the other is that you are not in Paris either. If you like I'm sure browniebaker will tell you privately when she will be there with her kids just in case you are planning on being there.

Another part of my point which I made VERY clear is that it would be highly unlikely for a French person to respond the way you are saying you would. And even if it did happen the French thing to do would be to shrug it off with that facial expression we make maybe with a pffffffffff.

And your "opinion" is just that and it wasn't formed with a French sensibility.

Next thing you know you'll be talking about how Koreans should eat rice.

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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OK folks. We've all expressed our opinions but I fear we're verging on going over the politesse line. The primary rules for me on the French Forum are to: be honest, be polite and be respectful. We're out to help people; to answer questions; and to advance the field of injudicious dining, the joy of life and learning new things.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Next thing you know you'll be talking about how Koreans should eat rice.

Please do not attribute the actions or views of others to the people who you are addressing with that statement. If you have a problem with one of -my- stated opinions, fine, but please do not use this forum as a means of ascribing my views and opinions to others, Chefzadi.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I'm in the "yes" camp. If your kids can handle it and you want to share this experience with them you should do so. They will, in fact, remember it as a very special occasion. Romantic dinners for two are all well and good, but you can have them at home, when the kids are snug in their own beds with their usual babysitter. Knowing that my children had wanted to come along for this meal, but are instead eating room service with a babysitter they've never met before would actually take a lot of the fun out of the evening for me.

And I agree with chefzadi that French diners or staff are unlikely to object to the children, particularly well-behaved children.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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Next thing you know you'll be talking about how Koreans should eat rice.

Please do not attribute the actions or views of others to the people who you are addressing with that statement. If you have a problem with one of -my- stated opinions, fine, but please do not use this forum as a means of conveying your own obvious agendas of disingenousness and ascribing my views and opinions to others, Chefzadi.

I have an agenda? That's a new one. Borders on personal insult.

My point is that it's the same sort of thing. The question wasn't about dining in Kansas. If it were I would have kept out of it because you know what? I don't about Kansas!

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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OK folks.  We've all expressed our opinions but I fear we're verging on going over the politesse line.  The primary rules for me on the French Forum are to: be honest, be polite and be respectful.  We're out to help people; to answer questions; and to advance the field of injudicious dining, the joy of life and learning new things.

My apologies. I was thinking of how I would react if I were dining there and that happened to me. No offense intended, just a reply to a question that was posed. It didn't appear to me, from the other replies (including jgm's to which I actually replied and from which I quoted), that this was limited to those living in France.

Judy Jones aka "moosnsqrl"

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.

M.F.K. Fisher

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This is the French Forum? I have never seen biickering on here! One of the things I really enjoy about it!

I am on the yes camp also. Only you know your children. If they can sit relatively quiet for 3-4 hours, why not? Dress them up royally and enjoy them and yourself. And if someone chooses to move solely because there are children at your table, well that is their perogative. I have taken my children to nicer restaurants in New York, some people moved away immediately, but I can't tell you how proud I was when the majority stopped by my table on the way out and complimented my children! I have seen children at 3 star Michelins in France and no one said a word or moved. So Enjoy!

Edited by raisab (log)

Paris is a mood...a longing you didn't know you had, until it was answered.

-An American in Paris

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If a babysitter was available, I would probably use them for this dinner and as other people have suggested create another special dinner or lunch for them at another restaurant. This way you have your romantic dinner and they also have their special "grown up" dinner in Paris.

It sounds like at their age and with their experience they certainly could "handle" the dinner and would not disturb other guests, but they may enjoy a shorter lunch or dinner that is a little less elaborate just as well. If the other restaurant is depicted on the internet you could build up "their" dinner or lunch with photos, descriptions of the menu, etc. If they are receptive, I'm sure it will be a very special time they will remember with fondness and pride.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Just to throw in my two cents - if the point of the experience is to give the kids a good memory, take them to a zoo or a fun science museum or to a cirque du soliel show. Making them sit for several hours while food they cannot possibly truly appreciate is served in an elegant, hushed setting, doesn't sound to me like something any normal five or nine year old would appreciate.

I did treat my little sister to lunch at Clos de la Violettes (2-star in Aix - very good) and dinner at Charlie Trotter's (bad)...but she's in her teens and can be fun to have around. But even at that age she doesn't get a huge kick out of these marathon dinners.

I think that this usually comes down to whether or not you yourself would enjoy dinner more with them around. If not, take them to some kids' attraction the next day and feed them good steak frites and bonbons. :)

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Even in a big city like Paris when a total stranger sees a lovely child they will sometimes come up and to praise the child and give hugs and kisses.

And the parents become very pale and grab the child away in horror from that perfectly insane person.

Only someone not quite in their right mind would dare hug and kiss a child of unknown parents in the street; this is just not done and pretty close to aggression if it happened. Lovely or not, Paris or not, you don't touch other people's children in the streets.

Edited for peace and love: I'm in the YES camp as well. I don't think one should refuse a child the experience of dining at a fine place when the child is looking forward to it. If he does, it means he's ready to appreciate it and behave accordingly. I am pretty sure that utter brats heard shrieking at star restaurants under the adoring or apalled look of their parents had never asked for experience in the first place.

However.

I am also for segregation, either of the parents and the child, or of myself if needed, in cases of child hysteria in places where young children are not expected to be. As a mother of a kid who always behaved himself in all places from the moment he knew how to hold a fork and knife, I must confess my intolerance of, not ill-behaved children, but of ill-behaved parents. In case of aggression from that kind of monster, I am pretty good at confiscating teddybears who happen to fall into my lap in TGV cars. The child looks at me dumbfounded and so do the parents. End of incident, even after I return the estranged toy to its owner.

Edited by Ptipois (log)
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Even in a big city like Paris when a total stranger sees a lovely child they will sometimes come up and to praise the child and give hugs and kisses.

And the parents become very pale and grab the child away in horror from that perfectly insane person.

Only someone not quite in their right mind would dare hug and kiss a child of unknown parents in the street; this is just not done and pretty close to aggression if it happened. Lovely or not, Paris or not, you don't touch other people's children in the streets.

Yes that is exactly how it happens. Totally random. No conversation at a park or at a bistro... :rolleyes:

I can be reached via email chefzadi AT gmail DOT com

Dean of Culinary Arts

Ecole de Cuisine: Culinary School Los Angeles

http://ecolecuisine.com

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I'll point out another drawback to the "romantic dinner" theory---unless they've rented an apartment they're likely sleeping in the same room as the children. So not, um, romantic.

As for strangers reaching out and fondling children, that's exactly what did happen to my children in Italy a couple of years ago. Venice, so it was already close quarters, and little old ladies would ruffle their hair and pinch their cheeks while we shuffled along, remarking on how well-behaved they were and what a wonderful mother I must be.

The children were only freaked out the first few times, and of course were very polite about it.

Can you pee in the ocean?

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As for strangers reaching out and fondling children, that's exactly what did happen to my children in Italy a couple of years ago. Venice, so it was already close quarters, and little old ladies would ruffle their hair and pinch their cheeks while we shuffled along, remarking on how well-behaved they were and what a wonderful mother I must be.

Yes, in places like Italy and Greece, this kind of travel hazard should be expected and travellers should be warned about it. But not in France, at least Northern France including Paris. Contemporary parents probably wouldn't call the police but pretty close.

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